The Law of Cause and Effect
It is wise for us to contemplate that to a large degree the quality of our life is determined by the quality of our behaviour. Our thoughts, feelings, speech, and actions − virtuous and non-virtuous − create the intricate patterns of much of our life experience.
By and large, we ourselves create the causes for our own happiness or our own suffering. When we understand the unwholesome, non-virtuous actions that cause suffering, we can eliminate those causes. When we understand the wholesome, virtuous actions which bring happiness and benefit to ourselves and others, we can cultivate those causes. We must begin by acknowledging that our situation in life is to a large degree the result of our own actions.
The law of cause and effect is certain and unfailing. Consequences are the inevitable results which come directly from specific causes. Positive actions of body, speech, and mind will always bring the positive result of some form of happiness and benefit. Negative actions of body, speech, and mind will always bring the negative result of some form of suffering.
Adapted from Naljor Prison Dharma Service, Heart of Dharma Collection (Santa Cruz, California, USA).